EMC goes to court to try to swat proxy gadfly

EMC, the Hopkinton-based storage technology company, is asking a federal judge to let it bar a California man's proposed change in its governance from its annual proxy statements.

And it's asking the judge in US District Court in Boston to make it snappy, because the statements need to go out to shareholders by the end of March.

EMC says that even ignoring the fact that John Chevedden is a serial proxy filer, his effort to require the chairman of EMC's board to be "independent" is both a violation of SEC rules because he doesn't own any EMC stock and because it's just stupid.

Chevedden, of Redondo Beach, CA, has filed hundreds of proxy motions at scores of companies since being laid off as an aerospace engineer in the 1990s.

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    EMC goes to court to swat proxy gadfly

    I filed the proxy proposal. Chevedden merely handled some of the paperwork, just as outside counsel did much of the paperwork when EMC chose to sue us rather than allow shareowners to vote on splitting the chair and CEO positions. The chair, along with other board members, is supposed to oversee the CEO. Combining both positions is like letting students teach and grade themselves. Sometimes it works wonderfully, but when it doesn't, it can be very costly.

    EMC asked the SEC to allow them to leave the proposal off their proxy. The SEC said no. Then EMC spent a small fortune in outside counsel expenses by going to federal court to prevent the vote. Judge Wolf threw the case out. It makes you wonder why they are so opposed to this advisory vote.